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Composition - MA

Course Description

Join one of the UK’s leading university environments for the study of Music, combining world-leading research, exceptional teaching and a vibrant musical community in the heart of global London.

Who is it for?

The programme provides ideal training for those wishing to enter the professional world of composition and/or proceed to a research degree.

We welcome students from all over the world and from a range of backgrounds.


The MA Composition develops skills in the broad field of contemporary composition, encompassing notated and digital music, sound art, improvisation and interdisciplinary practices.

The course provides a critical context for exploring key topics and issues in contemporary composition as well as a platform for presenting your own work to an audience of peers.

Engagement with professional creative practice is at the core of the MA Composition. Students have the opportunity to receive tuition from world-renowned composers external to the department. There are also opportunities to work with City’s professional ensembles-in-residence, Plus Minus and EXAUDI.

We have an outstanding reputation for dynamic, inspring and rigorous postgraduate eduation and offer exceptional support to our students Our students come from all over the world and benefit from our location in the heart of London, one of the world’s greatest cultural hubs.

Academic facilities

Department facilities include advanced recording and composition studios, a professional performance space, computer laboratories, rehearsal rooms, practice rooms and world music instruments.

Our composition studios include three surround (8.1/ 5.1) studios, one of which is dedicated to film and live electronics work, and three stereo composition studios. All of the studios are equipped for sound editing, processing and mixing. As well as general software such as Logic, Sibelius and Pro Tools, these studios are equipped with Native Instruments Komplete.

The recording studio is equipped to deliver multitrack recording and mixing to a professional standard.

Teaching and learning

Teaching delivery is through a combination of lectures, group seminars, interactive sessions, practical workshops, one-to-one tutorials and a high level of individual learning. Students also have the opportunity to receive tuition from world-renowned composers external to the department.

The Department of Music provides a stimulating environment with abundant opportunities for composers and sound artists and there are also plenty of opportunities for involvement in our many ensembles. The department’s concert series features contemporary classical music, world music, electronic music and multimedia work and an annual music festival in May and June provides opportunities for students to receive public performances of their work.

In addition to our many ensembles at City, MA students are also eligible to audition for the University of London Symphony Orchestra.


We use a range of assessment methods, including projects, portfolio submissions and extended creative tasks and accompanying commentary.


On City's MA Composition, you will take three core modules (30 credits each) in which you will enhance your understanding of creative practice and engage critically with compositional techniques, theoretical concepts and current issues in contemporary composition.

Term one
-Compositional Materials and Technique (30 credits)
-Contexts of Composition (30 credits)

Term two
-Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Process (30 credits)

You will also take a 90-credit Composition Portfolio, which runs through terms two and three.

Career prospects

Our MA programmes have excellent employment statistics. Students have gone on to teach, compose and perform in a wide variety of settings, and are also employed in areas such as music publishing, broadcasting, music management, arts administration and further musical study at MPhil or PhD level.

Our alumni include award-winning composers such as film sound designer Chris Reading and Nico Casal, composer for the winner of the Best Short Film at the 2016 Oscars.

Visit the Composition - MA page on the City, University of London website for more details!

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Student Profiles

School of Arts & Social Sciences Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme - No. of awards TBC

The School of Arts and Social Sciences is delighted to offer a number of scholarships for postgraduate students. The scholarships are worth £2,000 towards tuition fees awarded on the basis of academic merit and applicants' personal statements.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Worth up to £2,000


In order to be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must:
- be a self-funded student and not in receipt of any other scholarships;
- be a full or part-time student;

Application Procedure

Applicants who meet our entry requirements will be automatically considered for a non-means tested scholarship as part of the application process.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Applicants shoud normally hold (or expect to gain) an upper second class honours degree. While most students come with a first degree in Music, we do consider applicants with a good honours degree in related subjects in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

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